Topic outline

  • General

    Welcome to Exploring the Sacred, Ancient Path in the Original Words of the Buddha (Exploring the Path or ETP). This course represents a collection of Pāli lessons that are brought to life in bite-sized sections with custom glossaries that allow a new student of the language to quickly delve into some of the most valuable of the Buddha’s teachings right from the beginning of the course.

    View an outline of the course.

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    The approach to learning is one driven by the student’s desire to understand the meaening of the underlying content. Rather than approaching the Pāli language with a list of vocabulary and linguistic rules, the lessons use custom glossaries to ease the student into more complex learning tasks. The learning then comes from familiarity rather than memorization. The course aims to keep the student motivated through the unfolding of these ancient texts; learning of the language becomes a natural by-product of the process.

    This course aspires to instigate gratitude and faith by presenting suttas that show the rare opportunity and good fortune to encounter such a path (Chapter One); a path which is the same for one and all (Chapter Two); proceeding from general statements into detailed expositions of the respective eight components of the Noble Eightfold Path (Chapter Three); describing the correct practice of dāna and mettā (Chapter Four); and finally following the tradition of numerical order by portraying those important topics in the last section (Chapter Five) which help the practitioner to move towards liberation.

    These lessons are expected to take a Pāli student between 20 to 45 minutes to complete. They are intended to be sufficient enough to keep the student engaged, but not so overwhelming that they can't be fit into an already busy schedule.

    Some weeks include longer passages than others; all of the lessons will include an Introduction, a Pāli section with audio followed by a customized glossary to help the student work through their own translation of the passage as well as a Pāli-English side-by-side section with audio. In addition, there are extensive footnotes that add valuable information regarding the Pāli words themselves, their usage elsewhere in the Tipiṭaka, and other interesting items of note related to the passage or the sutta under study.

    There are also English translations available for each lesson. These translations aim to provide a word-for-word translation of the Pāli, so fluency may be sacrificed. Each lesson also provides other learning tools such as flash cards, activities, a test (available to even Guests) and a quiz (the quiz requires creating an account).

    Naturally one may work at one's own pace and there is no necessity to follow the schedule in which they are posted. Although it is intended that certain repetitions will support the progress of learning the ancient language of Pāli, one may also work at random or simply enjoy the English translations without going into the Pāli.

    We welcome you to the course and hope that you find great benefit from what these suttas offer.

    Note: To enter in the special Pāli characters using your computer keyboard, you'll need to download and install the Pāli Keyboard or visit for more details and updates.

  • CHAPTER 1 - 1.1: So Fortunate Who Encounters

    Lesson 1.1.0 Bahujanahitasuttaṃ - For the Benefit of Many

    This sutta describes the three kinds of individuals that arise in the world and further describes the qualities of the Buddha and the Dhamma. The introduction throws light on the history of the Itivuttakapāḷi, which came from an oral report of the female slave of Queen Sāmāvatī, named Khujjhuttarā, who after she listened to a discourse by the Buddha completely changed from a dishonest person into an honest one. Likewise, a short description is given about when the Buddha, in his previous existence as Samaṇa Sumedha, expressed his aspiration at the feet of Buddha Dīpaṅkara to become a sammāsambuddha himself.

  • 1.2: Dullabho - So Rare!

    Lesson 1.2.0 Dullabho - So Rare!

    For this lesson texts were chosen from the Dhammapada where the Buddha indicates how difficult and so rare (dullabho) are the occasions where one may encounter the teaching of the Enlightened One, whether having the opportunity to listen to the precious Dhamma (saddhammassavana) or really walking the path.

  • 1.2.1

    Lesson 1.2.1 Ekapuggalavaggo - The One Person

    The Ekapuggalavaggo describes the different aspects of the rare arising of a tathāgata, who is an arahant, a fully enlightened being by his own account, a Sammāsambuddha. The Introduction highlights the respective qualities of the Buddha, which are used as an inspirational reminder (buddhānussati) when paying respect or as stirring encouragement in one’s own practice of meditation.

  • 1.2.2

    Lesson 1.2.2 Puggalavaggo - The Two Rare Individuals

    Puggalavaggo presents some additional details about the two individuals who arise ‘for the sake and benefit of the well-being of many folk, and not for any other reason’. These two individuals are a tathāgata and a rājā cakkavattī (a wheel turning monarch), a ruler or an administrative government, that reigns for the welfare of its citizens. The Introduction highlights some of the guiding principles of such a king and also refers to the great example of King Asoka.

  • 1.2.3

    Lesson 1.2.3 Dullabhasuttaṃ - Difficult to Encounter

    Dullabhasuttaṃ refers to the three individuals that are rare to encounter in this world. The Introduction highlights one of these three individuals to whom S.N. Goenka refers to in his Day 10 discourse: a meditator who develops the rare qualities of gratitude and noblesse oblige: kataññū katavedī puggalo.

  • 1.2.4

    Lesson 1.2.4 Pātubhāvasuttaṃ - Rare Manifestations

    This lesson continues the theme of the scarcity and rarity of fortunate opportunities to encounter the Noble Eightfold Path — as presented by the Buddha — to foster the qualities of gratitude (kataññū katavedī). While the previous sutta (1.2.3 ‘Dullabhasutta - Difficult to Encounter’) highlighted the occurrence of three rare individuals to be encountered in this world, the Pātubhāvasutta now points to six seemingly normal, but actually exceptional manifestations, one of which is the desire to do wholesome things (kusale dhamme chando). May one, by reading this sutta, develop gratitude and such a wholesome wish!

  • 1.2.5

    Lesson 1.2.5 Brahmajālasuttavaṇṇanā - So Rare!

    The following lesson is a short selection from the Brahmajālasuttavaṇṇanā, the commentary on the Brahmajālasutta (the very first sutta in the Dīghanikāya). It describes a situation where the Buddha, after having performed his daily routine in the morning, addressed the monks with words well known by a serious meditator, and quoted by S. N. Goenka: “… dullabho buddhuppādo lokasmiṃ dullabho manussattapaṭilābho, dullabhā sampatti dullabhā pabbajjā, dullabhaṃ saddhammassavanan”ti.

  • 1.2.6

    Lesson 1.2.6 Dutiyachiggaḷayugasuttaṃ - The Second Simile of the Turtle

    One of the intentions of this course is to present suttas that are referred to by S.N. Goenka in his discourses. ‘The Second Simile of the Turtle’ portrays the image of a blind turtle that dives underwater on one side of an enormous ocean. How rare would it be that this very turtle raises its head – by coming above the surface of the water once every hundred years – through a yoke with a single hole that floats on the other side of an enormous ocean? According to the Buddha, it is as unlikely as a being obtaining a human birth and encountering, or even practicing, the Dhamma as taught by the Tathāgata. This lesson seeks to inspire the readers to deepen their practice with deep gratitude for such an exceptional opportunity!

  • 1.3: Appakā te manussesu - So Few Out of Many Humans

    Lesson 1.3.0 Appakā te manussesu - So Few Out of Many Humans

    The inspiring verses that start with appakā te manussesu (so few out of many humans) denote the concept of the collected texts that point once more, not only to the exceptional opportunity of being able to walk the path as bestowed to us by the Buddha, but that this offer is only accepted by a few whose qualities (pāramī) have ripened. The following Introductions will also highlight the disinclination of the Enlightened One to teach the Dhamma after his enlightenment. Though due to the efforts of Brahma Sahampati, the reluctant Buddha was convinced to commit himself to serving those among the beings, whose eyes were only covered with little dust.

  • 1.3.1

    Lesson 1.3.1 Saṅgāravasuttaṃ - The Questions of Saṅgāravo

    Saṅgārava was a curious and devoted Brāhmin who regularly placed his questions before the Buddha. In the current lesson he asks what would lead a being to the other shore: the pārimaṃ tīraṃ. The Buddha answers that the Noble Eightfold Path is the means to go beyond and not remain on the ‘hither shore’ (orimaṃ tīraṃ). Saṅgārava was a member of the Brāhmin caste — who felt themselves superior to the other casts — which is indicated in his addressing the Buddha as bho. The Buddha makes it clear that there cannot be any supremacy in regards to the membership of any sect; it is solely the actions of wholesomeness and the development in Dhamma that makes one superior.

  • 1.3.2

    Lesson 1.3.2 Orimatīrasuttam - The Hither and the Farther Shore

    The Orimatīrasutta presents another angle to the the previous lesson about beings who want to reach the ‘other shore’ and the necessary actions to do so. The sutta also introduces the shortcut … pe … (an abbreviation of peyyāla meaning ‘repetition, phrase, succession, formula’), which is often used in today’s digital and printed versions of the Tipiṭaka. The Introduction further pursues the request of Brahma Sahampati, the ruler of the Brahma worlds, to the Buddha to teach the Dhamma. The Buddha first declined but finally agreed after surveying the world of beings and their capacity to learn the sublime Dhamma. He perceived beings whose mental capacities were only slightly covered by dust: …bhagavāviditvā satte apparajakkhetikkhindriye …. It is due to the efforts of Brahma Sahampati that the Dhamma is still available even today!

  • 1.3.3

    Lesson 1.3.3 Pāraṅgamasuttaṃ - The Going Beyond

    This short and simple Pāraṅgamasutta, along with its Introduction, tries to foster recognition of the concept of appakā te manussesu… and invites the reader to recollect the constituents of the ariyo aṭṭhaṅgiko maggo as highlighted in the previous two lessons. In addition, the common abbreviation sāvatthinidānaṃ is explained, as a first reference to the Milindapañhapāḷi, elucidating why it was a requirement for Brahma Sahampati (as related in the previous lesson) to request the Buddha to teach the Dhamma before he finally agreed to disseminate it. This necessity is a regular procedure with all the Buddhas because two causes must be fulfilled: one is internal ajjhatika nidāna and the other is external bāhira nidāna. Take the lesson to find out more!

  • 1.3.4

    Lesson 1.3.4 Catutthavaggo - The Few and the Many

    This Catutthavaggo lesson once more accentuates the rarity of those exceptionally few beings (appakā te sattā) that are born as humans and encounter the teaching of the Buddha. Providing full awareness of such facts, the similes and allegories presented in the Catutthavaggo may further stir motivation in us to make use of this rare opportunity! The Introduction further dwells on the following double-edged question that King Milinda placed before the wise Venerable Nāgasena: “The Tathāgata worked for four asaṅkhyeyye and a hundred thousand kappā to realise omniscient wisdom to take a great number of beings safely across the shore. But on the other hand, you say that after having realised omniscient wisdom he was reluctant to teach Dhamma. Either the one or the other must be false, not both can be true. …’ Find the answer here!

  • 1.3.5

    Lesson 1.3.5 Maṇḍūkadevaputtavimānavatthu - The Frog Transforms into a Deva

    The Maṇḍūkadevaputtavimānavatthu is a lovely narrative about a frog, Maṇḍūka, who left his water abode with the strong desire to listen to the Dhamma (saddhammassavanaṃ) and while listening to the Dhamma was killed. As this very desire gave him immediate rebirth in the tāvatiṃsā-devā world, he reappeared on that very spot in his new form not missing a single word of the Buddha’s discourse. This story, like others of beings and their deeds who gain birth in higher or lower worlds, are collected in the Vimānavatthu or the Petavatthu. Complying with the request of Brahmā Sahampati after the he surveyed the world, the Buddha uttered the following renowned stanza and thus made the Noble Path not only available (saddhammassavanaṃ) but also possible to pursue: Apārutā tesaṃ amatassa dvārā; ye sotavanto pamuñcantu saddhaṃ … (Now the door of the deathless is opened; Open for those to hear, let them dissolve their faith …).

  • 1.3.6

    Lesson 1.3.6 Tamotamasuttaṃ - From Darkness or Brightness to Brightness or Darkness

    Every participant in the meditation courses taught by S.N. Goenka has heard a reference to this stirring Tamotamasuttaṃ. It is thanks to the dissemination of the teaching that everyone is offered the option to pick one’s own fate, independently from one’s starting point which is determined by past actions. Any current situation always allows and invites one to choose one’s destiny towards brightness and can be understood as the categories of tamo jotiparāyaṇo or joti jotiparāyaṇo. Surveying the world, the Buddha compared beings with lotus flowers (or water roses or white lotus flowers) that either remain under water, rise just to the water’s surface or rise above the surface and stand upright and untouched by the water. Similarly, there are people who realize the essence of the Dhamma immediately (ugghaṭitaññū), some who need a little explanation (vipañcitaññū), others who should be taught over an extended period to grasp the teaching (neyyo), while the pada paramo would gain a foothold in Dhamma during this present existence but gain full realization in further existences. Learn the tools for moving towards brightness as depicted in the Tamotamasuttaṃ.

  • 1.3.7

    Lesson 1.3.7 Hirīsuttaṃ - By Sense of Shame

    The verses contained in the Hirīsuttaṃ were a reply by the Buddha as to devatā who regularly visited him at night wanting guidance regarding certain riddles or questions. Such stanzas are collected in the first part of the Saṃyuttanikāyo called Sagāthāvaggo, in this lesson from the Nandanavaggo. Hirī means ‘shame, modesty, bashfulness’ and along with ottappa, meaning ‘dread, shrinking back from doing any wrong’; both represent two rare qualities highly applauded by the Buddha. The Introduction also relates a further incident where one devatā praises the pleasure park of the gods, nandanavana, as the highest bliss in the universe to be experienced. But another deva responds by calling him a ‘foolish one’ and uttering well known verses to any meditator: “Aniccā sabbasaṅkhārā, uppādavayadhammino; Uppajjitvā nirujjhanti, tesaṃ vūpasamo sukho.”

  • 1.3.8

    Lesson 1.3.8 Caṅkamasuttaṃ - Bound Together by Inclinations

    The Caṅkamasuttaṃ presents a large number of senior Theras whom the Buddha had attributed etadagga titles, i.e., being foremost in certain disciplines and qualities. Observing them walking up and down with their group of disciples, he expressed a solemn statement that an inherent disposition connects beings and makes them meet. Those disposed towards virtue and intent on performing wholesome actions connect together and associate with those disposed towards virtue and intent on performing wholesome actions and respectively do those with the opposite intention. This provides the wholesome base for long-standing friendships and empathy generally experienced by meditators walking on the path together whenever they meet again even after many years (kalyāṇamitta). The introduction further describes such a historical intimate friendship over the many lives of the Budha’s two chief disciples, the Venerable Sāriputta and the Venerable Mahā Moggallāna.

  • 1.3.9

    Lesson 1.3.9 Saṅghabhedasuttaṃ - The Schism in the Saṅgha

    Veḷuvane kalandakanivāpe near Rājagaha was a favourite place where the Buddha liked to dwell. It occurred near this park that the Buddha’s adversary and famous antagonist, Devadatta, approached Ānanda to announce a schism in the Saṅgha. The Saṅghabhedasutta presents this very situation and the expanded Introduction relates the history of this animosity towards the Buddha. Devadatta proves the accuracy of the Buddha’s statement in the previous lesson (1.3.8 Caṅkamasuttaṃ - Bound Together by Inclinations) that those having low inclination connect and associate with those having low inclination, intent on evil: ‘Hīnādhimuttikā hīnādhimuttikehi saddhiṃ saṃsandanti samenti.’ It was here that the Enlightened One uttered this ‘exclamation of joy’ (udāna) which shows that the Saṅghabhedasutta is selected from Udānapāḷi.

  • 1.4: tena me samaṇā piyā - That Is Why the Samaṇās Are Dear to Me

    Lesson 1.4.0 Cūḷahatthipadopamasuttaṃ, part one – Saddhā, Confidence, Is the Necessary Base for Walking the Path

    Saddhā (confidence, devotion or faith) is the essential element and base for anyone to become attracted, interested and inspired to take more steps along the way. When saddhā progresses from devotional faith or intellectual confidence into what the meditation teacher S. N. Goenka calls ‘enlightened devotion’ then it creates the perfect foundation for every further step on the path, and matures as insight develops. This subchapter 1.4 therefore aims at providing suttas that portray examples of those who have grown in Dhamma and whose conduct and achievements provide inspiring encouragement. This lesson 1.4.0 Cūḷahatthipadopamasutta, translated as the ‘Shorter Simile of an Elephant’s Footprint’, has been chosen for the purpose of fostering saddhā. It originates as an exchange between the Brāhmiṇ Jāṇussoṇi and the wanderer Pilotika, after which the Brāhmiṇ Jāṇussoṇi visits the Buddha. Here the Buddha delivers the important advice not to draw false suppositions by just seeing a ‘footprint’ but to base one’s judgement only on direct experience rather than pure faith or analytical deduction. The Buddha then proceeds by describing the proper conduct and inspiring deportment of the members of the Saṅgha as presented in the current lesson.

  • 1.4.1

    Lesson 1.4.1 Rohinītherīgāthā, part one – That Is Why They Are So Dear to Me

    The Rohinītherīgāthā provides a selection of lovely verses from the collection of the Khuddakanikāya, which are called Theragāthāpāḷi and Therīgāthāpāḷi. Here a girl named Rohinī, who regularly supports the Bhikkhus, gets lectured by her father, a wealthy Brahmin of Vesālī filled with negative prejudices about monks. He presents his complaints about her generosity by using the interrogative pronoun kena: “Why are those Samaṇas so dear to you?” (Kena te samaṇā piyā?). Rohinī makes use of the opportunity to praise the good qualities and noble conduct of the monks by turning the interrogative into the demonstrative tena by reciting the incomparable qualities of the monks in verses. After every verse, she concludes with what gave rise to the title of this sub-chapter: “That is why those Samaṇas are so dear to me!” (Tena me samaṇā piyā!).

  • 1.4.2

    Lesson 1.4.2 Vandana: Esa Bhagavato sāvaka-saṅgho – Inspiration Gained through the Ariyan Disciples

    Vandana is the term used to pay respect and express veneration while recollecting the qualities of the one being honoured. The statement esa Bhagavato sāvaka-saṅgho (These [people] form the order of disciples of the Bhagavā) was the exact wording recommended by the Buddha at various occasions, and is here introduced in the Dhajaggasutta. It is said that a meditator can overcome fear, doubt and an accumulation of impediments by recollecting the inspiring qualities of the Saṅgha. One’s mind will leave greed, aversion and delusion behind while also developing deference, conquering anxiety, instigating faith and becoming filled with joy. The term refers to those enlightened beings that are also qualified as ‘those four pairs of men’ (yadidaṃ cattāri purisa-yugāni) which then add up to ‘eight kinds of individuals’ (aṭṭha-purisa-puggalā). The formula presented in this lesson provides the suggested wording when paying respect to the members of the Bhikkhusaṅgha and the commentarial explanations in the Introduction explain it in more detail.

  • 1.4.3

    Lesson 1.4.3 Dhajaggasuttaṃ – Verses for Protection

    The thrilling verses in this lesson are extracted from the Dhajaggasutta found in the Saṃyuttanikāyo. The Buddha relates a past battle between the Devas and the Asuras. He compares the distress that might arise during a fight with the complications that might arise during meditation, and encourages meditators to recollect the qualities of the Triple Gem whenever they find they are lacking in zeal. Such rousing ‘recollection’ is generally referred to as anussati. Recalling and comprehending such ‘spiritual’ attributes, in their deeper meanings, will enable a meditator to regain balance in order to conquer the arisen distress. The Introduction further highlights the importance of saddhā in the context of the five padhāniyaṅgā for the exertion of effort, as well as its significance in the development of the five ‘strengths’ (pañcimāni balāni) and the maturation of the five ‘dominating factors’ or ‘faculties’ (pañcimāni indriyāni).

  • 1.4.4

    Lesson 1.4.4 Sekhasuttaṃ – Seven Befitting Qualities of an Ariyan Disciple

    One time when the Buddha was dwelling among the Sakyans near Kapilavatthu at Nigrodha’s Park. The Sakyans had just built a new assembly hall and invited the Buddha to give a discourse to support them in their understanding of Dhamma. After he had spoken for some time, the Buddha asked the Venerable Ānanda to continue and highlight the important aspects for someone who wants to develop on the path as a trainee. The Venerable Ānanda explained the importance of establishing sīla, guarding one’s sense doors, eating moderately with awareness, developing the seven benefitting qualities and, finally, obtaining and dwelling in the four jhānas. The Venerable Ānanda then further elucidated the ‘seven benefitting qualities’ — also known as the seven saddhammā as presented in this selection — emphasising the importance of saddha as the first of these qualities.

  • 1.4.5

    Lesson 1.4.5 Araññasuttaṃ – Serene Dwelling in the Forest

    The short Araññasutta presents another question from a Devatā who addresses the Buddha in verses. Amazed she reports that in spite of their simple and moderate lives the appearance of the monks is so tranquil, and their semblance so serene. The Introduction provides the commentarial explanation about the meditation of the Bhikkhus and its effect once applied properly. It is the capacity and execution of paccuppannena yāpenti (living in the present moment) through ‘wakefulness, alertness, attention and constant thorough awareness’ that enables a meditator to dwell gratified in the present moment. Paccuppannena yāpenti, tena me samaṇā piyā. (Living in the present moment, that is why they are dear to me!)

  • 1.4.6

    Lesson 1.4.6 Cūḷagosiṅgasuttaṃ – Like Milk and Water Dwelling in Harmony

    The Cūḷagosiṅgasutta presents an occasion where the Buddha visits the Venerable Anuruddhā, the Venerable Nandiyo and the Venerable Kimilo who are staying at the the Sāla-tree forest near Gosiṅga. He enquires about their well-being, comfort and achievements. Their answers demonstrate inspiring conduct of mutual respect, solidarity and comradeship. This is expressed in the well-known and inspiring passage: samaggā sammodamānā avivadamānā khīrodakībhūtā aññamaññaṃ piyacakkhūhi sampassantā (dwelling in agreement, harmonious, without dispute like milk and water joined together and looking at each other with sympathy in the eyes).

  • 1.4.7

    Lesson 1.4.7 Ānāpānassatisuttaṃ, part one - Free from Prattle and Chatter Is This Assembly

    The Ānāpānassatisutta presents one of the most important texts for a meditator. Because of its length and complexity, it is divided in three parts and, according to the different emphasis, placed in three respective chapters. It contains not only a detailed description of how the practice of Ānāpāna should be applied (lesson 3.8.4 Ānāpānassatisuttaṃ cont.) but also how the perfection of Ānāpāna helps to realize the seven Factors of Enlightenment (lesson 3.7.9 Ānāpānassatisuttaṃ – Satta Bojjhaṅge). The selection chosen for this lesson highlights the qualities and achievements of the Bhikkhus — as extolled by the Buddha — additionally providing the historical background of the location of the monastery where these Bhikkhus assembled and where this sutta was delivered. May every meditator benefit from the profound practice of Ānāpāna.

  • 1.4.8

    Lesson 1.4.8 Karaṇīyamettasuttaṃ, part one – Pursuing One’s Own Good and the Well-being of Others

    The Karaṇīyamettasuttaṃ, also called Mettasuttaṃ, is one of the best known suttas and is used as a protective chanting (paritta) in many countries. The Buddha uttered this sutta to a group of five hundred Bhikkhus who had retired to a secluded place at the base of the Himalayan mountains for their meditation retreat during the monsoon. After some time, the forest-gods felt disturbed and started to frighten the Bhikkhus away. In spite of the strict rule for a Bhikkhu to remain at a chosen place during an entire rainy season, they returned irritated to the Buddha to ask him whether they could search for another location. The Buddha then admonished and advised them to return to the same place, and encouraged them to develop the practice of Mettā towards all beings as taught in this sutta. In this course, the Karaṇīyamettasuttaṃ is presented in its entirety in two different lessons, part one and part two. Each part’s Introduction will highlight the respective verses with part one focusing on the exemplary qualities of the Bhikkhus while part two illuminates the practice of Mettā.

  • 1.4.9

    Lesson 1.4.9 Ratanasuttaṃ – Taking Refuge in the Three Jewels: the Buddha, the Dhamma and the Saṅgha

    In today’s current world of new challenges in health, climate and peace the ancient Ratanasuttaṃ gains new actuality. Going back to a period when the previously profitable city of Vesāli was suffering from draught, scarcity of food, diseases and death, it describes a situation where the people of Vesāli invited the Buddha to visit them to help re-establish their moral and social principles by teaching them the Dhamma. Before entering the city, the Buddha asked Ānanda to proceed and recite the Ratanasuttaṃ. The verses make use of the absolute veracity of the supreme qualities of the Buddha, the Dhamma and the Saṅgha as ‘gems’ or ‘jewels’. The introduction to this lesson distinctively accentuates these qualities and refers extensively to the descriptions of the Aṭṭhakathā (commentaries) revealing how the Buddha, the Dhamma and the Saṅgha each portrays a precious jewel (ratanaṃ paṇītaṃ)! The expression of such saccavacana then indeed resulted in the well-being (etena saccena suvatthi hotu) of the inhabitants of Vesāli who henceforth upheld the Dhamma as advised in this sutta. The qualities of the triple gem expressed here will inspire people to enter upon the Ariyo Aṭṭhaṅgiko Maggo and enable all, who undertake the efforts to join on such a purifying journey, to gain and maintain inner calm in spite of all potential outside predicaments.

  • 1.4.10

    Lesson 1.4.10 Sāmaññaphalasuttaṃ – Pointing Out the Way to One Who Is Lost 

    The Sāmaññaphalasutta refers to King Ajātasattu who killed his father, Bimbisāra, to gain the kingdom of Magadha. After his patricide, Ajātasattu became remorseful, restless and not able to sleep, and in spite of his many visits to various learned ascetics to heed their advice, he couldn’t find mental calm. He finally couldn’t resist his desire to meet the Enlightened One and accepted the invitation of his physician, Jīvaka, to visit the Buddha. During the meeting, he asked the question that had troubled him for so long: “What are the visible fruits, here and now, for someone who has left the householders life?” In reply, the Buddha challenged Ajātasattu to report the previous advice that he already received, and finally, conveyed to him the benefits of a moral life: “The way to find mental peace and mental calm is to avoid any unwholesome acts of body, deed and word, and to perform wholesome ones as well as devoting oneself to the different states of meditation up to the attainment of final liberation.” Thrilled, Ajātasattu expressed his admiration for the Buddha’s deep insight and explanation then asked for refuge. He further confessed the sin of his patricide and asked for forgiveness. The Buddha then encouragingly articulated that to understand one’s transgression as transgression, to make amends according to the Dhamma and to accomplish restraint in the future would enable one real growth in the Dhamma!

  • CHAPTER 2 - 2.1: A Beneficial Path for One and All

    Lesson 2.1.0 Kutikasuttaṃ – Leaving Behind All Bondages

    The Kuṭikāsutta opens this second chapter which has been titled: Itthiyā vā purisena vā gahaṭṭhena vā pabbajitena vā sāmaññena vā brahmaññena vā brahmacariyena vā – A Beneficial Path for One and All. The, mostly shorter, selected texts in this chapter emphasise that the Buddha taught the same Dhamma for everyone, whether “female or male, a householder or someone that has left the householder’s life, any ascetic, recluse, a Brahman or anyone who leads the life of purity”. The aim of this collection of suttas is to instigate faith and to inspire a person to walk the Ariyo Aṭṭhaṅgiko Maggo which is the same for all.

  • 2.1.1

    Lesson 2.1.1 Kesamuttisuttaṃ, part one – Don’t Believe In Tradition, in Hearsay, in Teachers but Your Own Experience, Understanding What Is Unwholesome

    The Kesamuttisutta, divided into two parts, presents the renowned advice that the Buddha gave to the Kālāmā at the market town Kesamutta. The Buddha reveals to them that proper knowledge of what is harmful or wholesome can be gained only by realising the truth through one’s own experience, leaving aside all that is heard, learned through tradition, scriptures or teachers. Additionally, a short history of how the Dhamma was maintained up to the current period begins by referring to a contradiction that King Milinda asked his opposite, the Venerable Nāgasena. He quotes two conflicting statements of the Buddha, who at one time foretold that the teaching now was to remain only for the next five hundred years, but at another time said that Arahants would continue to inhabit the world as long as they lived perfectly.